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February 20, 2019

Farmers accuse county of mistreating muguka sellers

A farmer harvesting Muguka stimulant in Mbeere North Sub-county in Embu county on March 26 2018.
A farmer harvesting Muguka stimulant in Mbeere North Sub-county in Embu county on March 26 2018.

Muguka farmers in Embu have accused the Mombasa government of mistreating traders who sell the stimulant in the county.

Mbeere and Embu Muguka Farmers Union chairman Jerevasius Nyombyekothe said there is an unfair and malicious campaign not to sell muguka in the Coast.

He said he is disappointed by reports that the Mombasa government has destroyed stalls owned by muguka traders at Tononoka grounds, the main distribution point in Mombasa.

Last month, the county inspectorate flattened bout 80 stalls as the county moved to stop the sale of the stimulant.

There have been calls for muguka to be banned in Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties.

Speaking to the Star on the phone yesterday, Nyombyekothe said it is wrong to destroy the stall and mistreat traders on allegations muguka has destroyed the lives of youths in the Coast. He said the claims have not been scientifically proven.

Nyombyekothe said muguka, just like the miraa grown in Meru, is a stimulant that has been used in Embu for many decades without any major health effects.

The union boss said muguka has never been declared an illicit drug, and the government recognises it as a cash crop.

He said this is why the government factored it while setting aside Sh1.2 billion for miraa.

Nyombyekothe said the Mombasa county’s action is detrimental as it is destroying the source of income for Embu traders.

He said the county should research on the effects of the crop before banning it.

Nyombyekothe said every Kenyan has the constitutional right to engage in legal trade anywhere and the county should respect that.

He said he has no problem if the traders are being relocated.

The chairman said allegations that illicit drugs are being trafficked through the muguka selling points are unfounded. He said police should investigate and deal with culprits instead of condemning the crop as a whole. Nyombyekothe said if anybody is selling muguka to children, they should be dealt with individually.

He said he will meet muguka farmers in Embu to find a solution.

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